Data citation and persistent identifiers are essential components of a robust data sharing and management ecosystem contributing to the overall advancement of science and scholarship. They help promote transparency, collaboration, and long-term data accessibility while ensuring researchers receive due credit for their data-related efforts. 

Citing Datasets

Datasets require citations for the same reasons other publications and research deliverables must be properly cited: formally and correctly acknowledge authors/producers and help other researchers locate existing datasets.

When citing a dataset, provide enough information so others can correctly identify, retrieve, and access the same unique dataset you used. Below are the minimum elements required for dataset identification and retrieval. Author guidelines or style manuals may request fewer or additional elements. Always include as many elements as needed to identify the dataset you have used precisely.

  • author
  • title
  • year of publication
  • archive/repository/distributor (where the data is housed)
  • edition or version
  • access information (a URL, DOI, or other persistent identifier - see below)

Some data repositories provide a recommended citation to datasets. Use those when available.

Recommended Resources

Persistent Identifiers

What are Persistent Identifiers (PIDs)?

Persistent Identifiers (PIDs) are unique and permanent digital references that make it possible to find, access, reuse, and cite digital information objects of any type on the web. Unlike URLs, PIDs services allow you to update the location of the digital object so that the identifier can consistently resolve correctly without breaking. Examples of PIDs include, but are not limited to Digital Object Identifier (DOI), Archival Resource Key (ARK), and Handle (HDL). 

How can you get a PID?

If you would like to publish and get credit for your data, you may choose a data repository that assigns PIDs to scholarly outputs, including data and code files. Schedule a consultation with us ( to learn more about available options.

If you would like to cite existing and unrestricted data and other research deliverables and avoid link rot, we suggest using . Learn more and request a free account with us today.

The UCSB Library subscribes to EZID, a University of California Curation Center (UC3) service to create and manage long-term identifiers (DOIs or ARKs). Under specific conditions and special cases, RDS can help research units and departments on campus to set up an account to mint and manage persistent identifiers on a regular basis. Contact us for more information and assistance: